Mechel Postpones Share Sale

Mechel, the country's largest coking coal miner, has postponed until Aug. 11 a preferred share offering through which it plans to raise more than $2.5 billion, the company said in disclosure documents Tuesday.

Mechel's billionaire chief executive and main shareholder, Igor Zyuzin, is also buying up 3 percent of the company's shares, a separate disclosure document showed, in a move analysts said was an attempt to drive up the miner's stock.

"The core shareholder's intention to buy 3 percent of Mechel's shares in the market may support the share price in the midterm and is a vote of confidence for the fundamentals of the business," UralSib said in a note. The purchase would take Zyuzin's stake in Mechel to nearly 73 percent, UralSib said.

Mechel is planning to place 55 million preferred shares and has announced a price range of $50.50 to $60.50 per share.

Market sources had said the offer book had been due to close this week and that some of the preferred shares were to trade in Frankfurt as Global Depositary Receipts. But sources familiar with the float said Monday that Mechel might cancel the offer or sharply reduce the price range.

One market source said the range, which implies a premium of up to 50 percent on the New York Stock Exchange price Monday, was unacceptably high for investors but that Mechel was unlikely to accept less.

Mechel has so far declined comment.